Editing team/Community Conversations

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Welcome! The Editing Team uses this page to document the outcomes of the conversations we host to better understand the needs and challenges people experience when they begin contributing to Wikipedia.

Next Conversation

South Asia Open Community Call
18 February 2024, 18:00 UTC+0530
Presentation of Editing and Growth features.

Findings

January 2023

Between October 2022 and January 2023, the Editing Team hosted seven community conversations with volunteers living in Sub-Saharan Africa.

These conversations were held with two key objectives in mind:

  • Learn what contributing to Wikipedia has been like for people living in and from Sub-Saharan Africa so that we, the Editing Team, can make improvements to the visual editor that hopefully make this process easier for future newcomers from the region.
  • Verify whether the conclusions the Editing Team is drawing from the initial set of conversations they hosted align with what volunteers in Sub-Saharan Africa have experienced contributing to Wikipedia.

What follows is a summary of what surfaced in these conversations and what the Editing Team is planning to do in response.

Note: we anticipate learning new information in the future that could cause us to see themes in the conversations that we hadn't noticed at initial time of writing or to see themes we did document differently. Should something like this occur, we'll update the below accordingly.

Finding Description Resulting Action
No Firm Rules It is important that the Edit Check experience embody the No Firm Rules pillar. There is some information that does not require an inline citation (e.g., simple common knowledge; summarizing information cited in another paragraph). Sometimes, it may be necessary to supply a citation in a subsequent edit (e.g., if someone editing from a mobile device needs to close the editing window to copy the URL for the intended source). The Editing Team is committed to ensuring Edit Check does NOT inhibit people from contributing content they consider to be encyclopedic, while accepting the possibility that other people will disagree.
Encourage Interaction Miscommunications and misunderstandings often result from the fact that the people who are reviewing the edits volunteers from within SSA are making are not likely to be people with deep familiarity of Africa themselves. They also see the edits they make and articles they create patrolled quickly, which can cause people to question whether the reviewers are taking sufficient time to consider the content of the edits people are making and the intentions behind them. The Editing Team will ensure the Edit Check user experience includes features that are likely to increase interaction and understanding between the people who are making edits and the people who are reviewing them.
Learn By Doing Over time, "telling" newcomers how to edit in ways that align with what projects expect seems to be less effective than introducing workflows that guide people towards the outcome they arrived on the wiki seeking. Organizers and mentors notice that newcomers often disregard instructions and just want to get going. The Edit Check project will alter the publishing workflow so that simply by attempting to publish an edit, newcomers and Junior Contributors will be prompted to improve the edits they're motivated to make in ways that align with Wikipedia policies.
References Are Necessary and Not Sufficient As the "Encourage Interaction" finding alludes to, there are upstream/systemic issues (e.g. the lack of admins from Africa at the English Wikipedia, lack of non-African media coverage for notable topics and people, IP blocks, etc.) that volunteers from within SSA posit contributes to them feeling misunderstood, drained, and ultimately, the changes they are attempting to make excluded, even if they "follow all of the rules" like adding references. The Editing Team is acknowledging that Edit Check is a first, small step in addressing the wider systemic issues people volunteering in SSA experience. We see this project, in part, as a way to start evaluating the theory of change that this project is built atop. A theory of change that suggests that in order to evolve towards a future where wikis' policies and cultural norms (and ultimately content) reflect the diverse experiences of the people these projects are intended to serve, we first need to make legible and explicit the norms and standards that are currently in place. This way, volunteers can develop shared awareness of cases where these norms and standards are not having the impacts they were intended to have.
"If not us, then who?" Volunteers from within SSA are motivated to contribute knowledge about the contexts, histories, and cultures they are a part of, so that it is not forgotten and so that this knowledge is available to the entire world. As part of the Edit Check project, the Editing Team will propose ideas for how edits might be contextualized in ways that prompt the people reviewing edits to consider the level of rigor they apply to edits to topics that are underrepresented within projects.
Explicitness is Important Volunteers report patrollers scrutinizing the contributions they make more rigorously than contributions other people make. This can cause people from SSA, who are a minority on the projects they are most often contributing to (English and French Wikipedias) to feel unwelcomed. It can also make people from SSA question whether, despite understanding the written rules, they can predict how patrollers will apply these policies in practice. It is important that Edit Check cause the volunteers who encounter it to feel more confident in being able to predict how other people are likely to react to the contributions they make.
Help Is Hard To Find Volunteers report the wikis as being difficult to navigate. The interface uses – what they consider to be – unfamilar terms for familiar functions (e.g. "Talk" instead of "Discussion" or "Inbox”) and communications are filled with jargon which can feel exclusionary and disempowering. It is important that Edit Check meet people where they are and bring relevant guidance and help to them in the moment they have an opportunity and the motivation to apply it.

Past conversations

Information
Date: Tuesday, 28 November (19:00 - 20:30 UTC)
Subject: Edit check
Video conference link: Google Meet
Main meeting language: français
Notes-taking
Objective
  • Reference Reliability: learn what user experience volunteers favor among the four directions the team is considering
  • Multi-Check: learn what questions and concerns the multi-check user experience brings up in volunteers' minds
Sign up (optional)
  1. PPelberg (WMF) (talk) 19:28, 13 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. Dyolf77 (WMF) (talk) 16:15, 14 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  3. Trizek_(WMF) (talk) 16:45, 14 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  4. User:NAyoub (WMF)
  5. --Geugeor-WMF (talk) 20:13, 22 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Notes

Mockups of four design directions of the reference reliability edit check user experience.
Edit Check (Reference Reliability) design explorations

~15 French-speaking volunteers with varying levels of wiki-experience joined the 28 November 2023 conversation to review and discuss:

  1. Design directions for the Reference Reliability check, the next check the team will introduce
  2. Initial mockups for the user experience that will enable us to present volunteers with multiple checks within a single edit

The questions and ideas that emerged during the meeting are documented below.

Questions/Reactions

  • Volunteers present expressed general support for presenting people with feedback about the reliability of the source they are attempting to cite.
    • The key question volunteers raised in response to seeing the designs was what would determine whether Edit Check considers a source to be reliable or not.
    • In response, the team shared that, to start, reliability feedback will only be offered if someone attempts to cite a domain that is listed on the MediaWiki:Spam-blacklist (support for MediaWiki:BlockedExternalDomains.json.
  • Volunteers emphasized the importance of finding the "right" number of checks to present to people.
    • Volunteers shared the above in response to the potential of newcomers becoming overwhelmed by the number of "checks" they need to respond to before being able to publish the changes they arrived to make.
    • With the above said, the volunteers present seemed to agree in seeing the value in showing feedback about the edits they are making before they publish them as opposed to receiving this feedback after-the-fact by way of blocks, reverts, and talk page messages.
    • The Editing Team will ensure we are not presenting people with too many checks by:
  • At smaller wikis, Edit Check helps users to learn about citing their sources.

Ideas

  • Volunteers entered the idea of revealing checks in a progressive manner
    • The thinking here being that if people are shown checks one-at-a-time or more gradually, they might feel less overwhelmed/burdened and subsequently, more likely to respond to the checks and follow through with publishing the edits they were in the process of making.

Wikimania

The Editing Team will be sharing Edit Check during two conversations at this year's Wikimania:

Session Name Date Start time (UTC) End time (UTC) Info.
Supporting moderators at the Wikimedia Foundation Thursday, August 17 2:15 3:15 https://eventyay.com/e/8f889410/session/8333
Let's put policy in peoples' hands Thursday, August 17 3:15 3:45 https://eventyay.com/e/8f889410/session/8463

Information

Objective

Identify what about the Edit Check prototypes (desktop + mobile) might need to be added, removed, or revised before the feature is offered to people in production.

Sign up (optional) for July 2023

  1. User:Dyolf77 (WMF)
  2. User:NAyoub (WMF)
  3. PPelberg (WMF) (talk) 23:18, 29 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  4. Buidhe (talk) 20:24, 11 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  5. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 05:53, 12 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  6. Bart Terpstra (talk) 17:54, 13 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Notes

5 English-speaking volunteers joined the 14 July 2023 conversation to try out and discuss the Edit Check desktop and mobile prototypes.

This meeting focused on UX details of the current prototypes and broader questions that will be important for us (collectively) to answer as the project progresses.

While there is a great deal for us still to learn about how impactful the reference check is and the approach to the user experience we've implemented thus far, the Editing Team left the conversation continuing to feel like the hypotheses the wider Edit Check project rests upon are sound.

The questions and ideas that emerged during the meeting are documented below.

Questions

  • "Are you considering adding templates or changing policy [that would make it easier to communicate intent and lower false-postive reverts?"
    • Editing Team response: while we can see a potential future wherein Edit Check makes it easier for people to start conversations about policies with other volunteers, we do not see it as within the team's remit to directly intervene with on-wiki content policies.
  • "Considering how difficult it can be to add references on mobile, might there be value in analyzing the percentage of people who abandon edits that involve them attempting to add citations?"
    • Editing Team response: Yes. As part of the analyses we have planned, we will be evaluating the proportion of people who abandon an edit after beginning to add a citation. The first analysis we have planned will happen in T342404.
  • "Will we be comparing how platform (mobile / desktop) impacts how people engage with Edit Check?
    • Editing Team response: Yes.
  • It's important that people know the reason they are deciding not to include a reference will be made public, how will the current UX be adapted to make this clear?
  • To what extent will the software be capable of accommodating many checks?
    • Editing Team Response: we are designing Edit Check for a future where it is capable of accommodating many checks and being equipped with the internal logic needed to decide if, when, and how to show said checks in ways that will be most impactful. We'll start thinking about this in T329596.
  • How will we design for a potential future where people will expect the interface to tell them when they've done something that warrants reconsideration and if they don't hear anything, they assume the changes they're making are all good?
    • Edit Team Response: this is a great question and not one we've considered to the extent that we can offer a meaningful response. Here is a ticket to hold ourselves accountable for doing this work: T342406.

Ideas

  • In cases where people decide to decline to add a reference when Edit Check invites them to do so...
    • What about including the reason people provide in the edit summary that accompanies said edit?
      • Editing Team response: Great idea. To start, we're going to implement this approach. This work will happen in T341533.
    • What about automatically inserting hidden comments or the Citation needed template?

Poster publicizing the Community Call the Editing Team will be hosting on 14 June 2023 at 17:00 UTC.
Community Call Details. Please feel free to share this!

Information

Objectives

This meeting will be an opportunity for new and experienced volunteers, especially those who edit the French Wikipedia, to:

Project overview

A set of features for the visual editor to help new volunteers make constructive changes to Wikipedia.

The Editing Team sees this project being helpful to:

  • Campaign Organizers interested in helping event participants make edits they are proud of and projects value
  • Newcomers and Junior Contributors arriving on the wikis motivated to add content about topics they are interested in
  • Senior Contributors motivated to ensure the content newcomers and Junior Contributors are adding is verifiable

Sign up (optional) for June 2023

(Please sign up on the original page, not on translated pages.)

  1. Habib Mhenni
  2. Nixon Mukoko
  3. Gilbert Ndihokubwayo (talk) 18:48, 11 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  4. PPelberg (WMF) (talk) 19:34, 12 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  5. User:NAyoub (WMF)

Notes

12 French-speaking volunteers from Sub-Saharan Africa joined the 14 June 2023 conversation to try out and discuss the Edit Check mobile prototype.

People seemed optimistic about the potential Edit Check has to encourage newcomers to add more sources to articles. Specifically, in university contexts where people may not be as familiar with Wikipedia policies.

The questions the volunteers in attendance raised were oriented around the following topics:

  • When the feature will become available
  • What – if any – data Edit Check generates patrollers will be able to access
  • What editing interfaces the feature will be available within

Here are a few things people expressed during the meeting:

  • “... If it works, it will be a very nice feature and will help patrollers in their job!” – Saliou Abdou
  • “Will patrollers have access to the data generated by this tool?”
  • “This tool is very interesting, can it check the quality of sources?” – Lingabo Junior
  • “Scholars don’t trust on Wikipedia because of lack of sources. This tool will encourage people to add more sources to articles, so Wikipedia will be more integrated in research.” – Frank Akouete

Poster publicizing the Community Call the Editing Team will be hosting on 3 May 2023 at 15:00 UTC.
Community Call Details. Please feel free to share this!

Information

Objectives

This meeting will be an opportunity for new and experienced volunteers, especially those who edit the French Wikipedia, to:

Project overview

A set of features for the visual editor to help new volunteers make constructive changes to Wikipedia.

The Editing Team sees this project being helpful to:

  • Campaign Organizers interested in helping event participants make edits they are proud of and projects value
  • Newcomers and Junior Contributors arriving on the wikis motivated to add content about topics they are interested in
  • Senior Contributors motivated to ensure the content newcomers and Junior Contributors are adding is verifiable

Sign up (optional) for May 2023

(Please sign up on the original page, not on translated pages.)

  1. User:VPuffetMichel (WMF)
  2. User:Dyolf77 (WMF)
  3. User:NAyoub (WMF)
  4. User:CapitainAfrika
  5. User:Waltercolor

Information

Objectives

  1. Equip Wikipedia volunteers with the context they need to evaluate and participate in the ongoing development of Edit check
  2. Understand what gadget and script authors have learned, through developing a series of related features, that could increase the impact of Edit check
  3. Define how the Editing Team and volunteers will collaborate on the underlying rules/logic/heuristics that will determine when the initial reference check will be triggered

Project overview

A set of features for the visual editor to help new volunteers make changes to Wikipedia that align with project policies.

The Editing Team sees this project being helpful to:

  • Patrollers/Reviewers interested in solutions designed to increase the quality of edits and as a result, increase their capacity to think about more complex/high impact moderation challenges
  • Newcomers and Junior Contributors arriving on the wikis motivated to add content about topics they are interested in and in ways that other volunteers are likely to consider useful
  • Gadget and Script Authors interested in helping to shape a new tool being designed to proactively educate and guide newcomers to make changes they feel proud of and changes that improve Wikipedia

Notes

Overall

  • The volunteers in attendance felt, at a high level, the Edit Check project is moving in a positive direction in so far as:
    • Edit Check is being designed with configurability in mind from the start. This will enable individual projects to customize the experience in ways that meet their needs
    • Introducing a "check" that prompts people to accompany the new information they're adding to wikis with a source aligns with core Wikipedia policy
  • With the above in mind, volunteers identified aspects of the user experience, the theory of change the project is built atop, and the potential for abuse/misuse latent within the current design that require more thought. More details about each of these dimensions below.

Questions about the overarching theory of change

  • Volunteers wondered whether people editing from within Sub-Saharan Africa (read: the people whose needs Edit Check is currently being oriented around) will experience Edit Check as being more disruptive than it is helpful.

Initial availability

  • Volunteers named Edit-A-Thons as a context many newcomers begin editing within. In these Edit-A-Thons, many newcomers draft edits in their sandboxes. This led the group to wonder whether Edit Check would be available within them. Note: the Editing Team will be addressing the question about how/where Edit Check will be available to start in T324355.

The user experience, inclusive of the language and calls to action within it, ought to feel motivating and inviting

  • Volunteers noted how the current copy within the "Add a citation" prompt could be improved. It currently reads  "Citing your work helps ensure reliability." Note: the work to refine and improve upon the copy that appears within the Edit Check user experience will happen in T331948.
  • Volunteers adeptly identified how the moment Edit Check is presented to people within will be key. Present the check too early and newcomers and Junior Contributors may be more likely to abandon the edit they arrived seeking to make. Present the check too late and they may be more likely to breeze past the check and proceed on to saving.

Potential for abuse and misuse

  • Volunteers named a couple of ways they could see people using Edit Check in ways that harm projects. E.g.:
    • Prompting people to add too many sources. As is happening already on 2023 Nigerian presidential election article (700+ citations; some statements have 10+ references associated with them)
    • People "sneaking" in vandalistic statements by sourcing them with references that already exist within the article. This happened on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_redheads where people were copying citations and changing the name of the person.  This can be difficult for humans to notice and perhaps impossible for software to detect. The Editing Team will audit the user experience – with help from volunteers – in T331949.

Source quality/reliability

  • Volunteers noted how the current Edit Check user experience does NOT prompt people to consider whether the source they're attempting to add is one other people are likely to consider reliable.
    • While providing feedback about reliability is currently out of scope for the first version, the Editing Team is thinking this would be a feature we prioritize work on in a later version. See T276857.

Impact on people who are reviewing edits

  • Volunteers raised the potential for Edit Check to increase the likelihood that RecentChanges patrollers, and other reviewers, to improve content instead of reverting it.
  • In response, we talked briefly about how the Edit Check experience is intended to prompt people who decline to add a source to articulate why which could make it easier for people reviewing edits to asses the intentions of the person making the edit and the validity of the information they're adding. Note: the Editing Team is thinking about how to prompt people who decline to add a source to articulate why in T329593 .
  • Related to the idea, two other ideas that surfaced in the context of people who elect NOT to add a source when prompted:
    • Might it be useful to be able to specify cases when Edit Check will automatically add a {{citation needed}} template on behalf of people who decline to add a source? We'll explore this idea in T331951.
    • Might it be more useful to ask people where the information they're adding comes from as opposed to why they think the information they're adding requires a source. Note: the work refine the copy that appears within the UX will happen in T331948.

Setting expectations around "asking for help"

  • Volunteers warned against exposing generic "Ask for help" calls to action within the Edit Check experience citing the potential for:
    • People to exploit/abuse the "Ask for help" input form thereby creating more vandalism for experienced volunteers to clean up. See Article feedback.
  • Volunteers suggested that it become necessary to introduce some kind of "ask for help" functionality, that that functionality be tightly scoped. E.g. "I need help finding a source," "I need help formatting this citation," etc.

Sign-up (optional)

February 2023

The Editing Team has been hosting conference calls with volunteers. In February 2023, we also began a series of discussions on wiki with experienced volunteers. At the start of this project, we are centering experienced volunteers at the English and French Wikipedias who are:

  • familiar with existing project policies and conventions, and
  • practiced with applying project policies and conventions in a reviewing/patrolling role.

The Editing Team is approaching these conversations seeking to learn things such as:

  1. How could this general approach go wrong? What fundamental assumptions/constraints might this project be at risk of "running up against"?
  2. What actions should trigger the reference check?
  3. What aspects of the initial reference check experience can you imagine projects wanting to configure? How do you think we ought to configure them initially?
  4. Whom do you think the reference check should be enabled for?
  5. It might be possible for you to evaluate/audit how Edit Check is performing and the impact it is having. Would that be useful to you? In what ways?
  6. The current project will encourage inline references. What other kinds of checks can you imagine being useful/valuable?

Once complete, the Editing Team will share a synthesis of what we learned through these conversations in the Findings section above.

Information

Objectives

This meeting will be an opportunity for new and experienced volunteers, especially those from Sub-Saharan Africa, to:

Project Overview

A set of features for the visual editor to help new volunteers make constructive changes to Wikipedia.

The Editing Team sees this project being helpful to:

  • Campaign Organizers interested in helping event participants make edits they are proud of and projects value
  • Newcomers and Junior Contributors arriving on the wikis motivated to add content about topics they are interested in
  • Senior Contributors motivated to ensure the content newcomers and Junior Contributors are adding is verifiable

Sign up (optional)

  1. User:PPelberg (WMF)
  2. User;;MMunyoki(WMF)
  3. User:Yaw tuba
  4. User:Joris Darlington Quarshie

Poster publicizing the Community Call the Editing Team will be hosting on 16 December 2022 at 16:00 UTC.
Community Call Details. Please feel free to share this!

Objectives

  • This meeting will be an opportunity for new and experienced volunteers from Sub-Saharan Africa to:
    • Review, and share feedback about, the features/design concepts the Editing Team is considering to improve the visual editor as part of their upcoming project
    • Verify the needs the Editing Team is working to address reflect needs they experience/have experienced
    • Learn about opportunities to contribute to this project
  • This meeting will be an opportunity for members of the Editing Team to:
    • Verify that the conclusions they are drawing from the initial set of conversations they hosted align with what volunteers in Sub-Saharan Africa have experienced contributing to Wikipedia.
    • Learn what – if any – issues volunteers can foresee with the features/design concepts we are considering building

Information

Project Overview

A set of features for the visual editor to help new volunteers understand and follow the policies and guidelines necessary to make constructive changes to Wikipedia projects.

The Editing Team sees this project being helpful to:

  • Campaign Organizers interested in helping event participants make edits they are proud of and projects value
  • Newcomers and Junior Contributors arriving on the wikis motivated to add content about topics they are interested in
  • Senior Contributors motivated to ensure the content newcomers and Junior Contributors are adding is verifiable

Notes

  • Volunteers agree these needs are real and should be addressed.
    • 30+ volunteers , many from Sub-Saharan Africa, joined a conversation about the new features the Editing Team is developing. The hope is to increase the likelihood that people who are new and motivated to contribute content and perspectives that are underrepresented within large language Wikipedias like English and French make changes that they feel good about and that existing community members value.
    • The conversation lasted 2.5 hours, 1 hour longer than originally scheduled.
    • Nearly half all of the volunteers who attended the 16 December session attendees expressed an interest in actively partnering with the Editing Team on the Edit Check project in one, or a mix, of the following three ways:
      • Amplifying the work: people who are well connected in the movement who can share opportunities and news about the project
      • Beta testing new features: people interested in technology who enjoy experimenting with new features
      • Organizing events: people who host events and would like to try new features with participants
  • Volunteers do not think technical solutions are sufficient for addressing the systemic issues they experience
    • While the volunteers on the 16 December were generally optimistic about the potential for the new features the Editing Team showed, people were clear in stating that they do not think software changes alone are sufficient for addressing the systemic bias people seeing to contribute content and perspectives that are underrepresented on large language Wikipedias face
    • Specifically, many experienced volunteers on the call who routinely add references with the content additions they make, reported having these edits questioned.  This happens more often than people think is justified, reverted or deleted.
    • Volunteers on the call shared that the volunteers who are reviewing the edits they make to English Wikipedia seem to be unfamiliar with the topics they are writing about and sources they are referencing (e.g., African newspapers and magazines) and respond by excluding these edits from the project.
  • Volunteers did not converge on a clear preference for the four design concepts the Editing Team presented
    • During the meeting, Nico shared four concepts for different user experiences the Editing Team is considering for prompting people to add references when they are attempting to expand an existing article.
    • While the volunteers in attendance seemed positive about this kind of feedback, people did not voice strong opinions about an approach or approaches that they think would be most helpful and effective.

Signup (Optional)

  1. Whatamidoing (WMF)
  2. NAyoub (WMF)
  3. PPelberg (WMF)
  4. NRodriguez (WMF)
  5. EAkinloose (WMF)
  6. RYasmeen (WMF)
  7. STei (WMF)
  8. User:VPuffetMichel (WMF)
  9. User:PWaigi-WMF
  10. User:Geugeor
  11. User:Dyolf77 (WMF)
  12. User:MNeisler (WMF)
  13. Bachounda
  14. Ngoudechi
  15. Obedmakolo
  16. Joris Darlington Quarshie
  17. Timzy D'Great
  18. Jemima2019
  19. Zeemahgan
  20. Prince1g4
  21. Yaw tuba
  22. Bukky658 (talk) 04:39, 14 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  23. Charity00 (talk) 09:29, 15 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  24. Agbalagba (talk) 13:28, 15 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  25. AC Krah (talk) 14:36, 15 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  26. Mbaidoo (talk) 14:43, 15 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  27. Macocobovi(talk)
  28. Kumi Haymondabutu
  29. Bolanle Adeleye:(talk)
  30. Olugold (talk)
  31. Dera xoxo (talk)
  32. Iwuala Lucy (talk) 10:19, 16 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  33. Senator Choko
  34. Lotinoh 3:33pm, 16 December 2022 (UTC)
  35. Spadeex
  36. Valentine_Badu (talk) 15:02, 16 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  37. Aliyu shaba]]Talk 07:43, 17 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Objective

  • Learn what contributing to Wikipedia has been like for people living in and from Sub-Saharan Africa so that we, the Editing Team, can make improvements to the visual editor that hopefully make this process easier for future newcomers from the region. Meeting in French, focused on the French Wikipedia.

Attendees

Notes

  • Ce qui est difficile à savoir pour les débutants, comment les guider
    • Connaître et découvrir toutes les règles qui sont très exigeantes sur wikipedia.
    • C’est souvent en pratiquant et en faisant des erreurs que l’on découvre les règles. C’est un énorme investissement de temps et pas vraiment de bonnes manières de se former.
    • Il faut avoir une attitude d’apprentissage mais ce n’est pas toujours facile de persévérer lorsqu’on se fait supprimer ses articles.
    • Différents problèmes avec les sources:
      • Savoir qu’il faut sourcer.
      • Un manque de sources à propos d’un sujet.
      • Les sources ne sont pas reconnues en dehors du pays et donc l’article se fait effacer même s' il a assez de sources.
    • Comment guider les débutants:
      • Utiliser plus les brouillons pour retravailler et favoriser l'amélioration des articles. Être sur d’introduire le concept de brouillon aux débutants.
      • Réviser le message d’acceuil pour donner l’information en plus petits morceaux et progressivement.
      • Par défaut, les débutants devraient recevoir des emails. Ils ne font pas attention et ne prennent pas le temps de regarder les configurations.
      • Avoir une procédure d'accueil avec un aspect pédagogique pour aider les débutants  car ils ne se rendent pas compte qu’ils font mal.
  • Ce qui les a découragé
    • Se faire supprimer des articles à répétition.
      • L’effet va de “J’ai failli abandonner” jusqu'à "il faut tenir bon mais c’est très décourageant".
      • Beaucoup de personnes se découragent car c’est à répétition et le débutant est de bonne foi, y passe du temps et de l'argent.
      • Il faudrait expliquer pourquoi l’article est supprimé comme ça le débutant peut apprendre (aspect pédagogique).
    • Grosse frustration:
      • Ceux qui suppriment les articles se comportent comme des automates et efface en 1 minute. Il semble qu’ils ne prennent pas le temps de regarder le contenu.
      • Ceux qui passent en revue les articles ne connaissent pas les médias ou sources reconnues dans le pays.
    • Idée “d'améliorer en une minute au lieu d’effacer” ou “forme me moi au lieu d’effacer”.
    • Problèmes d’IP et blocage.
  • Ce qui les motivent
    • Partager leurs connaissances en général et représenter leur pays et culture sur wikipedia!
    • Partager l’article créé avec leurs amis.
  • Ce qui les a aidé, encouragé
    • Avoir un mentor ou une personne qui guide les premiers pas.
    • Commencer par Commons qui est plus convivial, plus amusant que Wikipedia.
    • Apprendre en suivant les MOOC.
    • Rencontrer des wikimédiens à WikiIndaba pour se faire aider et se faire connaître.
    • Plonger et prendre une attitude d’apprentissage.
    • Strategies:
      • Écrire beaucoup d'articles “en masse”, les faire supprimer, les améliorer et les publier à nouveau avec des améliorations.
    • Demander à des contributeurs expérimentés de commencer un article afin d’avoir plus de chances que l’article ne soit pas effacé
  • Autres choses:
    • Difficile de trouver son chemin sur wikipedia. Par exemple, mettre en avant le wikimooc, quand on apprend c’est très utile.
    • Les nouveaux User Groups ont des difficultés pour commencer et grandir. C’est compliqué et un vrai labyrinthe.

Objective

  • Learn what contributing to Wikipedia has been like for people living in and from Sub-Saharan Africa so that we, the Editing Team, can make improvements to the visual editor that hopefully make this process easier for future newcomers from the region.

Attendees

  • Four volunteers from Nigeria, one volunteers from Ghana, and members of the Editing Team

Notes

  • Wikipedia's policies are difficult to discover
    • People often come to learn about policies after they do something that is against them
    • Feedback about policies often comes in the form of a new article being deleted or a message newcomers receive on their talk pages which they find difficult to understand because these messages are often filled with technical jargon/shorthand that they are unfamiliar with
  • Interpreting and applying Wikipedia's policies is challenging  
    • People reported having difficulty with the following policies/guidelines when they first started out:
      • Copyright violations: it was not intuitive that you need to paraphrase content rather than copy and paste it directly into the wiki from the source
      • Citations: it was difficult to remember that you need to add citations and decide how many are "required"
      • Reliable Sources: it is difficult to know whether a source you, as a newcomer, would consider to be reliable is a source other volunteers at the project will consider reliable.
      • Notability: this policy seems subjective and unfairly disadvantages people in Africa who are writing about – what they consider to be notable topics and people – that lack media coverage. Some examples people shared: accomplished women, government agencies, schools/universities, and government organizations
  • Reasons people felt compelled to start contributing and what they experienced
    • "As a librarian, I was/am motivated to make Wikipedia's content useful, reliable, and relevant for African students."
    • "As a developer who has found Wikipedia useful, I wanted to give back. So, I started editing documentation."
    • "I started editing at a training. I started by correcting a spelling mistake and adding a table. It felt amazing to know how to add information directly and edit in my local language."
    • "A friend showed me how to create an account and set up a user page. I loved translation and contributing in my local language. This personal connection got me started and I fell in love with the platform."
    • "I felt compelled to write about women's and children's rights issues, especially child maltreatment."
  • Moments people felt supported contributing to Wikipedia
    • Receiving an encouraging message on their talk page
    • Wikimania, especially Wikimedian of the Year. Encouraging to see people appreciated for their efforts
    • Seeing a new article they created received a lot of page views.
  • Moments people felt discouraged contributing to Wikipedia
    • When a conference coordinator warned them that if they did anything wrong while contributing to Wikipedia, their account could get blocked
    • Having an article they created deleted

Objective

  • Learn what contributing to Wikipedia has been like for people living in and from Sub-Saharan Africa so that we, the Editing Team, can make improvements to the visual editor that hopefully make this process easier for future newcomers from the region.

Attendees

  • Three experienced volunteers from Nigeria and members of the Editing Team

Notes

  • Help is hard to find.
    • Newcomers have a difficult time navigating Wikipedia and finding/accessing the help they need on their own.
      • Feedback Senior Contributors sometimes hear from Juniors: all of the wiki pages look the same, which can make it difficult for them to remember/revisit pages they might have seen in the past.[1]
      • Help pages and conversations with Senior Contributors are also long and filled with jargon (WP:SHORTCUTS) which – to newcomers – can feel exclusionary and disempowering.
      • Wikipedia uses unfamiliar terms for common functions (e.g. "Talk" instead of "Discussion" or "Inbox")
      • Most people don't know how to search and find the answers.  If you want information on how to add color to an article, you search for "Color" and you end up at the encyclopedia article Color instead of at Help:Using colours.
  • Difficult to decipher how and why policies are applied.
    • Inclusion decisions/content standards are applied differently to different people. This discourages people and causes them to feel excluded.
    • Some articles at the English Wikipedia remain that are short and unreferenced. Meanwhile, many Africans have the articles they write declined despite being longer and sourced. Without it being clear what is accepted and what isn't, people who receive unfavorable judgements are led to think they are not welcomed here.
  • English Wikipedia says "no" a lot.
    • When you get blocked, it's easy/intuitive to think "Oh no, I did something wrong", which can feel demoralizing and drive people away.
    • Contributing to English Wikipedia feels more difficult/unforgiving/hostile, than contributing to a project like Igbo Wikipedia which feels more accepting of honest mistakes  and inclusive of people who are still learning.
      • One of the challenges of contributing to Wikipedia is that many of the people who are in positions of power/authority, are not from/aware of/experienced with the topics people from SSA are writing about.
  • Why Contribute? Why English Wikipedia?
    • For many of us, English is our lingua franca; it's natural for us to write in English and thus contribute to a project that is rooted in it.
    • If not us, then who?  Nobody is better suited to work on content related to our local context than us, the people who are from and live within it.
    • A fulfilling and constructive counterpart to more common forms of social media.
  • Mobile is crucial.
    • The majority of new people who arrive at training events come equipped with a smartphone. That's it.

Objective

  • Learn what contributing to Wikipedia has been like for people living in and from Sub-Saharan Africa so that we, the Editing Team, can make improvements to the visual editor that hopefully make this process easier for future newcomers from the region.

Attendees

Notes

  • Difference in social contexts
    • The English Wikipedia attracts people from around the world, many of whom do not have share a social context. This might help to explain why experienced volunteers, who are reviewing edits that add new content to the wikis about topics that are underrepresented within them, tend to have a difficult time intuitively assessing notably. As a result, these experienced volunteers may be more likely to delete content of this sort than they are to permit it.
    • Newcomers are pushed away from the projects when they see the effort they invested to create a new article "thrown away" by way of an experienced volunteer adding a speedy deletion tag to it. It would be more helpful if rather than deleting these articles Seniors moved these articles to the creators' sandbox.
  • Underrepresentation creates a vicious cycle
    • Contributing to English Wikipedia can feel stressful and the newcomers Joris has spoken with have been driven away because of this.
    • The lack of admins from Africa within English Wikipedia seems to perpetuate content inclusion / exclusion issues.
    • Volunteers from Africa feel tired/drained by being repeatedly asked to justify/explain a topic's notability to people in power who are not from the region.
    • The path to becoming an Admin at the English Wikipedia seems unclear
  • IP Blocks and Range Blocks
    • A blig issue that prevents everyone in the Africa region. From, individual editors to event organizers.
  • Ideas that could both help newcomers and free mentors up to focus on more scalable efforts
    • Providing trainings on tools that could help newcomer volunteers to contribute to en.wiki effectively
    • Clear workflows for resolving IP blocks and range blocks themselves
  • Editing Onboarding
    • The majority of the newcomers Joris has worked with started editing through an organized event/programs and few continue contributing after the fact. Maybe because these newcomers did not have access to the support and advice in the moments they needed it.

Objective

  • Learn what contributing to Wikipedia has been like for people living in and from Sub-Saharan Africa so that we, the Editing Team, can make improvements to the visual editor that hopefully make this process easier for future newcomers from the region.

Attendees

  • Nicolas Ayoub, Mohammed Bachounda, Imelda Brazal, Ilana Fried, Georges Fodouop, Peter Pelberg, and Liam Wyatt.

Notes

  • Challenges newcomers face
    • The editing interfaces newcomers use lack education which lead to the problems shown in the slides we shared,
    • Add content by copying and pasting it directly from a source or adding content without citing a reliable source,
    • Newcomers mistakenly think that they EITHER need to copy the content from a source directly OR paraphrase content from the source without citing it (by fear of plagiarism).
  • Motivations for contributing to Wikipedia
    • Correct information I considered to be false/incorrect about a topic I’m familiar with,
    • Ensure my/peoples' perspectives/experiences/culture/traditions/customs/food/dress/etc. are accurately represented within the wiki,
    • Experience the joy/satisfaction with adding information for the rest of humanity to see.
  • Challenges with sourcing knowledge
    • The knowledge does not exist digitally
    • The knowledge is not represented in, what mature/Western wikis consider to be, reliable sources of information (e.g. non-written knowledge for instance)
  • Things that Nico, Peter, and the Editing Team ought to remember:
    • Over time, "learning by doing" seems to be a more effective method for teaching newcomers how to contribute to Wikipedia
    • Over time, experienced volunteers at mature wikis have come to expect that every edit be "correct." Gone are the days of adding some text and someone else coming along to add a source to verify it. Newcomers have a high bar to meet.
    • Newcomers who are contributing to Wikipedia by way of participating in a campaign are likely to have different motivations/experiences than people who are arriving to edit by themselves.
    • The checks should not prevent people from contributing content…there is some information that simply cannot be sourced in a way the policies, as they are currently written, consider acceptable. We should not discourage contributions of this sort.

Note: the Editing Team gathers sources and references relevant to the projects they work on on Editing team/Research/References sub-page.

References

  1. Note: this observation is supported by research the the Growth Team did around the design of the Help Panel. See slide 15.